SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation; or Search Engine Optimization if you’re a Yank. Basically that means ensuring that your website has been constructed the optimal way to allow it to be indexed by search engines so that your desired key phrases produce your website on web searches.

The principal is very simple, but the facts are often confused and inaccurate.

For example, inserting Meta Tags into your website for Keywords and Description will NOT have any affect whatsoever on your ranking within Google. Anyone that tells you this will help is not worth the oxygen talking to.

If you have a Flash intro or splash page to your website, do not expect it to rank well � unless you have tens of thousands of pounds to spend on advertising.

Some web designers also like to insert hidden text and links into websites in order to fool search engines into thinking that a website has loads of relevant content. This again is a waste of time, and while it �may’ bring short term results, in the long run will prove self defeating. Google has been known to ban sites completely from its index for doing this.

So, what you shouldn’t do is be underhanded and cheat, but what should you be doing?

Simple, the old adage is ‘Content is King’, and this couldn’t be more true. You should build your website for your visitors, with their needs and user experience in mind. It sounds boring, and perhaps a little too easy, but this is basically the trick to it all.

Your visitors want to see content, which is why they are there. They want the site to be updated regularly, so that they have a reason to return. Search engines also want to see this. If your site is brimming with regularly updated content, their automated crawlers that index the web will return to your website more often, and thus your site will be indexed deeper. This will aid your ranking.

Of course, it’s not quite as simple as that. How your content is displayed, the tags you use and the links you use are all factors. If you expect to be found on a search for �Green Widgets’ for example, having an image on your website called ‘button.gif’ that links to ‘page1.html’ isn’t going to help. What you need a text link with the words ‘Green Widgets’ linking to a page called ‘green-widgets.html’.

This making sense now?

You’d be amazed how many people say they can’t find their website when they put their desired key phrases into Google, yet don’t have those phrases anywhere on their site. It’s not rocket science, but then it’s not playschool either. It’s somewhere in-between.

I would go on, but this isn’t a resource; it’s a brief summary of what should and shouldn’t be done. If I told you everything, there’d be no point me being here.

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So much anger, so little time